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A CME Group spokesperson offered the following statement to CNBC:

“Our equity index futures and options markets paused intermittently following this evening’s open due to volatility, which triggered more than 40 Velocity Logic events in the first six minutes of trading. All markets operated as designed throughout.”

Speculation for the swell in volume and plunge in futures included the news of the arrest of the CFO of the Chinese telecom company Huawei. The arrest was made by the Canadian authorities on the extradition request by the U.S., a move that some worried could put trade negotiations between Beijing and Washington at risk.

“After we saw this Huawei news hit, it seemingly (and inordinately) contributed to an almost impossible 65 handle drop in Spooz (S&P futures) on the overnight reopen, with 36,700 contracts trading in the first 10 minutes,” said a note from the Nomura Securities trading desk.

But traders also speculated that the selling could be attributed to a large fund or funds liquidating a position.

“It feels to me that hedge fund redemptions are in full swing and equity investors were too complacent for years,” wrote Tom di Galoma, managing director at Seaport Global Holdings. “They are finding out what reality looks like which means stock prices go up slowly and go down hard.”

Futures briefly recovered but then eventually fell back to near those lows as traders said the damage was already done.

“After the gap lower inevitably hit more US Equities ‘stop loss’ limit orders and further bludgeoned trader sentiment, the modest recovery thereafter lost further steam over the very early US hours,” the Nomura note said.

The CME’s Velocity Logic is designed to detect market movements of a set numbers of ticks up or down in a predetermined amount of time and halt trading if necessary.

The S&P 500 fell 1.7 percent at the opening bell Thursday while the Dow dropped more than 450 points, bringing that index’s two-day losses to more than 1,000 points. The moves may also be linked to pent-up market jitters that accumulated when the major exchanges were closed on Wednesday for the funeral of President George H. W. Bush.

— With reporting by CNBC’s Michael Bloom.

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93% of tech funding goes to all-male founders



Europe’s tech start-up scene has a problem: almost all of its funding is going toward men.

A new report from venture capital firm Atomico found 93 percent of the money invested into European tech start-ups in 2018 went to companies with all-male founding teams.

The report paints a bleak picture for female entrepreneurs in Europe with no progress in the data over the past five years.

“It’s clear that the European tech ecosystem has a challenge around diversity and inclusion,” Tom Wehmeier, partner and head of research at Atomico who authored the report, told CNBC last week.

Atomico’s report, which surveyed 5,000 founders, investors and tech sector employees across Europe, showed discrepancies in perception versus reality around gender discrimination. While nearly 90 percent of respondents said having a diverse team benefits company performance, nearly half of the women who responded said they had experienced discrimination while working in the European tech industry.

“I don’t know, to be honest, any friend of mine who is a founder or entrepreneur who is female who would say I never experienced this,” Tugce Bulut, founder and CEO of London-based market research start-up Streetbees, told CNBC on Thursday.

Bulut said she has experienced discrimination in a variety of forms, from inappropriate comments to dismissive behavior. She said part of the problem is that women are not encouraged to be as “pushy” as men from an early age, which can result in a lack of confidence and entrepreneurship.

“That has a snowball effect over years,” Bulut said.

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Tesla General Counsel Todd Maron is leaving the company



Tesla announced on Friday that General Counsel Todd Maron is leaving the electric vehicle maker, the second high-ranking attorney to do so this quarter. Last month, Phil Rothenberg left his post as Tesla’s Vice President of Legal, to become general counsel at Sonder, a hospitality start-up.

The Wall Street Journal reported news of Maron’s departure, and Tesla acknowledged the personnel moves in a blog post following the report.

The electric car company said it plans to replace Maron with seasoned Beltway trial lawyer Dane Butswinkas, a chairman at Williams & Connolly, who was also a Co-Chair in the firm’s Commercial Litigation, Financial Services and Banking Groups.

Butswinkas will report directly to CEO Elon Musk.

Tesla specified, in their announcement, that Maron will stay on through January to ensure a smooth hand-off to his replacement.

Maron’s leaving Tesla comes as a surprise to many due to his longstanding relationship with Musk. He served as the billionaire’s divorce attorney via a boutique family law firm, Jaffe and Clemens, prior to joining Tesla in 2013 as deputy counsel.

Tesla is currently facing a host of lawsuits and regulatory probes.

And the company is working to become compliant with terms of a settlement it struck earlier this year with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, after Musk tweeted that he could take the company private at $420 a share. The settlement requires Tesla to employ an “experienced securities lawyer” to review social media communications by its senior officers, including Musk.

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Trump seen naming State Department spokeswoman as next UN ambassador



U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert speaks during a press conference in Washington, DC. 

Yasin Ozturk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert speaks during a press conference in Washington, DC. 

U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to name State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert as the ambassador to the United Nations, a source familiar with his decision said on Thursday.

Trump will send a tweet on Friday morning about choosing Nauert to replace outgoing U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who announced her resignation in October, Fox News reported, citing multiple sources.

Trump’s decision was first reported by Bloomberg News. NBC News confirmed that report with multiple sources.

A representative of the State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Haley has held the post since the beginning of Trump’s administration and said she would stay in the job through the end of the year.

Nauert, whose nomination would require Senate confirmation, is a former Fox News Channel correspondent and anchor. She does not have prior political or policy-making experience.

Nauert became the State Department spokeswoman in April 2017 and, earlier this year, was named the acting undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs.

ABC News reported in November that Nauert had been offered the job, but it was not clear at the time whether she had accepted.

—CNBC contributed to this report.

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